Does anyone use an EQ pedal as a solo booster??

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by John II, Jan 22, 2008.


  1. John II

    John II Member

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    I have not had much luck with overdrives or clean boost pedals as solo boosters. Now I'm wondering if a true bypassed EQ pedal with at least 10db of boost would be better to use as a solo booster. I could EQ the tone so I really cut through.

    Does anyone use an EQ for this purpose? If so, how has it been for you and which one are you using??

    Thanks.

    ~John II
     
  2. erksin

    erksin Member

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    I use a Catalinbread VariOboost Professional for that purpose - it has a healthy amount of boost that reaches low gain OD near the max boost settings. The EQ section is easy to dial in too and has a wide variety of tones on tap. I have mine set up to sound like a cranked tweed Champ right now, but I also use it for cocked wah sounds or lo-fi AM radio tones, etc.

    http://www.catalinbread.com/Varioboost.html
     
  3. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    If your looking for a true volume boost (and have an fx loop) versus a fattening boost, forget about trying to obtain adequate boost on the floor, there is a limit to what can be had before your drastically altering your tone and attack since your dumping more signal into your amps pre-amp, pushing that stage into more saturation to where there is no more gain to be had, only more overdrive.

    Yes there is some boost that can be had there but you reach a point of diminishing returns when trying to boost your volume a few db, you hit a ceiling where it wont get any louder just more saturated.

    Placing an EQ in your FX loop is the way to get the most apparent and natural boost. This works as if you have turned up your master volume and there is more headroom available when using this method.

    I use delay and Reverb in my loop, recently added a boss line selector so those time domain pedals are in parallel. After the LS-2 looper, I then have a Boss GE-7 modified so I can switch it on or off remotely from my pedalboard. The GE-7 is the last pedal in the loop and the eq is set flat for the most part with the output volume notched up for a solid volume boost when engaged.

    Regardless of how clean sounding a Boost/OD pedal claims to be, increasing the gain before your amps pre-amp to derive boost will not deliver as much clean and raw volume boost as can be had in the fx loop since the fx return/power amp in jack is routing to your amps output stage.

    You could go further of course and make this true bypass in your fx loop which is my next task but am finding its adequately transparent for now.

    So now I have multiple floor pedal boost options for when I want that and raw volume boost using the EQ in the loop. remotely switched for when I want that which is necessary with a loud band on occassion since the former method seems to always be slightly less than adequate to get above the others for soloing.
     
  4. Waxhead

    Waxhead Member

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  5. English Jim

    English Jim Member

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    Barb EQ does a great job of what you're talking about. Use it all the time with my FRT37 - doesn't need an OD just a boost and a little fattening.
     
  6. Lt_Core

    Lt_Core Supporting Member

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    Couldn't agree more. I tend to use my MXR EQ more for overall tone shaping than a solo boost. I used to use a stock GE-7 for solo boosts in the loop with a slight bump in the mids.

    Currently I'm using an MI Audio Boost N' Buff in the input chain for solo/slight gain boosts.
     
  7. gearboy

    gearboy Member

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    My buddy does....a stock GE-7 in the loop
     
  8. John II

    John II Member

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    Guys- You have been incredibly helpful. I did not give much thought to the effects loop until now and it so makes sense. I also picked up a Varioboost through a trade.

    Keep the ideas coming guys. I really appreciate it.
     
  9. John II

    John II Member

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    Very, very helpful. Thanks so much for your insight!

    ~John II
     
  10. mickey69

    mickey69 Member

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    what about amps w/out a loop? perhaps an MXR microamp?
     
  11. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    Unfortunately your up against the same limitation in this situation when using a pedal boost on the floor, before the amp. Boosters dump more voltage into the amps pre-amp no matter what and the pre-amp is going to feel it

    I would think the cleanest and most transparent booster would be beneficial in this situation but keep in mind, even more of a clean signal (more voltage) can still kick the amps teeth hard enough to induce more overdrive than desired at the amps input stage and if your strictly looking for a clean and dramatic volume boost to get you above other instruments, it for the most part is lacking.

    Using the Micro Amp the tone wont be as overdriven but that is alos depedent on any clipping in the floor pedal boost but OD 101 for amps is to cascade gain from 1 tube to the next to send the stages that follow into saturation. So the Micro Amp at some point will affect the same, how much is the unknown until you try.

    In my experience a floor boost works for some tunes and situations before it got over saturated but at some point was different tonally than what I had before engaging it. Overall for me, its not an adequate 100% reliable solo boost with a loud band or on a large stage, especially if you want louder and clean.

    Overall I think the Micro Amp amongst others is a good choice and stays clean for most of its output and you will find some boost for sure. How it will work out is also dependent on the amps input sensitivity and your amps pre-amp volume setting.

    I use the fx loop trick because my Rivera R30 does not have a solo boost per se. It has a OD boost on chan 1 and Ninja boost on chan 2 and both boost's contribute more fatness or overdrive than real boost and I have always found it to not be enough boost for my loud rock band.

    Even for other less dynamicaly challenged affairs if you will, it provided enough boost but altered tone and OD intensity which may have not been what I needed for a song

    In fact you dont see enough tube amps with a true volume boost function where the boost is kicking the output stage up, you do see this feature on SS amps though, its easier to do there. You could pay someone to stand there and turn your master up and down.

    That why tube amps evolved into multi channel affairs, allows you to set different levels and tones. But what if you dont want to use the other channel for the solo, you want what you have only louder, thats the limitation in this thinking.

    Neil Young had someone build him something called a Spluffer I think, it was a motorized controller that sits on top of the knobs of his 50's low watt fender tweed to turn the knobs for tone and boost changes.

    I guess thats cheaper and more reliable than paying someone, better yet, if your amp is not a vintage prize, have an fx loop installed.

    I have even heard of using the Reverb circuit on Fender BF amps for an FX loop with some circuit changes, believe Gerald Weber mentioned that in his book, Desktop Reference for Hip Vintage Guitar Amps.

    Then again, your out of Reverb now but if you have the means, an outboard Reverb is the real deal anyway.
     
  12. erksin

    erksin Member

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    It's called the Whizzer, FWIW...
     
  13. majorledhead

    majorledhead Supporting Member

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    I use a BJFE SeaBlue EQ as my mildest boost/od for giving my clean channel a slight goose. It has a good bit of volume to it if you crank it up and is very musical.
     
  14. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    I was dreaming of the "whizzer" before I modded my GE-7 for remote control and started using it in my FX loop. I was simply fed up with not being able to rise above the muck when I needed exactly that.

    Now its a simple stomp of the footswitch and its as if I reached back and turned up the master.

    I used the GE-7 because I had it on hand thought it was a good candidate for the experiment and am thinking there may be better and have yet to try other pedals.

    I do know this, you want a pedal that works well with the line level signal in the fx loop and has more headroom and imo, not a pedal that has any OD. Maybe even a pedal that runs on 12, 18 or 24 volt. The GE-7 runs on 12v, probably the reason I found it very quiet and transparent in my loop when active, and I know why its one of the most respected Boss pedals.

    The higher the supply voltage for any non OD device, the more headroom and clean boost it will have so its not clipping and coloring your tone in the loop.

    You see some older pedals that need a higher voltage or even have bipolar dc power needs. They were designed for increased headroom and the shift to 9volt was partly due to the wide use of the 9v battery in other devices like transistor radios, it was not a decision based on tone but rather adoption of the battery format for guitar pedals and it delivers good power versus size and has been around since the late 50's.

    Some things never change
     
  15. KLB

    KLB Member

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    Boost = increase in volume?

    No effects loop? Get an amp with a clean tone louder than you need. Use OD/Dist. pedals before a volume pedal. Increase the volume pedal as needed.

    Serial Effects loop? Put the volume pedal in the loop.

    Boost with increase in distortion? Whatever goes after the volume pedal will distort as you increase the level. At some point, you just get more compression, not more volume.

    If you have a sound pressure meter, you can do before/after tests to see how much extra db you get. A 6db lead boost measured this way will usually stand out above your normal rhythm volume

    The tone spectrum of distorted sounds can trick you into thinking it is louder as you turn up, when a clean tone may be more dynamic and audible. Think how well a trumpet or sax projects from a noisy stage.

    There is a great local player who hears the distorted tones from his multi-channel amp as being louder during solos, but in the audience his clean tones are actually louder. I have politely asked him to turn up his OD channels so we can hear what he is playing better, but he says they are too loud onstage. Bummer for the audience.

    I like the Tone-Jam modded "Sniper" Boss GE-7 for pedalboard use. That, and an Ernie Ball volume pedal after all gain devices.
     
  16. Scott Cioe

    Scott Cioe Member

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    I use a Boss GE-7 in the serial effects loop of my amp...Works great!
     
  17. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    A Volume pedal in a loop is not practical, you want to miminize the length of cabling in your loop and you dont want to run interconnection back to your pedalboard for a volume pedal, thats asking to tune in all local am radio stations and placing it near your amp is not a solution, you cant run back every time.

    A volume pedal as a booster is not nearly as live performance friendly as hitting a foot switch since you will be working it to get back to where you had it set for rythmn or finding the right amount for solos, too much work, you want set and forget. A Passive volume pedal is also a tone bleeder, its just pots strapping your signal to ground across a resistance. So your thinking an active type, sure great, but you still have to put your foot on the gas and move the whole pedal, another thing to muck up in the heat of the moment.



    6db spl of boost is more than a doubling of volume since 3db would be twice as loud. Twice as loud for say a 100watt amp is not 200watts, its 1000 watts or 10 log. If your talking 6dbm, then yes thats an attainable boost/increase in volume since thats a meausure of voltage not sound pressure levels.


    While your out amp shopping get one with a loop or a channel switcher but I stated the reasons why the channel switching mentality is limiting and having a loop with a remote controlled boost is the real deal or better yet an amp with a true global output stage boost which is not as easy to find as you think, almost impossible without having the wife file for divorce to your out of control GAS.

    Marshall answered that call in the 90's with the JCM 900 SLX Dual Master. Great idea but they forgot to add tone to that amp, too bad I got stuck with one, but I had boost in spades.

    What if you like low wattage Blackface fenders or other non master low wattage affairs with no loop, no master volume?

    Pre pre-amp pedal boost only goes so far if your band thinks a solo is a cue for them to play louder or if the venue is slightly larger than you thought or that bachelor party filed in for your last set, in these cases you need some boostier!

    My tactic there is to run an additional amp either via a good quality splitter or off of the additional amp input jack and kick it in or boost it if its Loop equipped to just get more volume.

    More is better and in this case volume is the boostiest


    Distorted tones are more harmonicaly complex than clean tones which are closer to a pure sine, smooth, silky and fat.

    The reason distorted tones seem louder at close distances is a psycho-acoustic effect, it tells the brain, pain/danger/discomfort and/or excitement.

    The reason why that guitar players OD tones are not as loud up front is because a clipped signal is essentialy a signal with reduced fundamental tones in addition to added upper harmonics which makes the notes smaller for lack of a better description.

    Clean tones are rich in Fundamental and have reduced upper harmonics so they project and disperse more efficiently.

    Thats why Stevie Ray was a GOD, he played clean but yet it was dirty and we all got the message if you know what I mean.

    If you want an example of small tone even with a built in boost, play a JCM 900 SLX, there is so much saturation there, the fundamental is virtually non-existent and despite having 100 watts of roar, your fans (or syncophants) will say, we cant hear you while your going deaf on stage and pissing everyone off.
     
  18. drmike

    drmike Member

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    I've tried both the Keeley Katana and the CREATION AUDIO LABS MK.4.23 Boost in the effects loop of my amp with good results. The Katana definitely colors the tone, though not in an entirely unpleasant way. The CAL MK 4.23 is very transparent. It works better in the effects loop but you can get a decent clean volume boost if you place it after your OD pedal.
     
  19. Enjoyer

    Enjoyer Member

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    The Antelope Morning Dew EQ works well for this purpose, as well.
     
  20. Waxhead

    Waxhead Member

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    It's corny to quote yourself but what the F.

    But John - seriously man. The MXR 10-band EQ pedal with separate volume and gain slider is all you need. Put it in the loop and you got a ton of clean boost plus THE best EQ pedal on the market. The Boss GE-7 thing is crap compared to this. :BEER
     

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